Should I plead guilty?

4. Talk to the Crown about your options

If you're thinking about pleading guilty, talk to your lawyer or about what type of you might get and other ways of resolving your case.

For example, you may want to talk about diversion. Diversion may be available for non-serious offences or if you have mental health issues or other issues the Crown thinks are relevant to sentencing, such as addictions or alcoholism.

You'll be more likely to get a lower sentence, a discharge, or if the Crown and court believe you're trying to fix your personal issues and the harm you caused.

You can talk to the Crown at a pre-trial or meeting.

If you have a pre-, be very careful about what you say to the Crown. Do not talk about what happened in your case. You don't want to accidentally say something during a pre-trial that the Crown can later use against you if you decide to and have a trial.

If you want to take responsibility for the crime, you can ask the Crown for a resolution meeting. A resolution meeting is a type of pre-trial that is focused on resolving your case without a trial. You may want to talk to the Crown about the things that were going on in your life that led up to the crime as a way to negotiate a better deal or diversion.

Think about your options carefully before talking with the Crown. And try to talk to a lawyer or duty counsel before taking with the Crown. A lawyer or duty counsel can help you understand what you should talk about and what you should not talk about with the Crown.

You can tell the Crown if:

  • you've done things to repair any harm or damage caused by the crime
  • you've done things since you were charged that will help you avoid criminal behaviour in the future

There are many ways you can address the behaviour that led to your criminal charges. For example, you might think about:

  • going to anger management classes
  • going to substance use and addiction counselling
  • volunteering for community service hours and giving back to the community

Bring proof of any courses, counselling, or community service you've done since you were charged. For example, bring certificates of completion or letters that describe what you've done.

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